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The progress of the Assembly's monitoring procedure (January-December 2019)

Doc. 15031: collection of written amendments | Doc. 15031 | 30/01/2020 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly acknowledges the work carried out by the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) in fulfilling its mandate as defined in Resolution 1115 (1997) on the setting up of an Assembly committee on the honouring of obligations and commitments by member States of the Council of Europe (monitoring committee) (as modified by Resolution 1431 (2005), Resolution 1515 (2006), Resolution 1698 (2009), Resolution 1710 (2010), Resolution 1936 (2013), Resolution 2018 (2014) and Resolution 2261 (2019). It commends the committee on its work in accompanying the 10 countries under a full monitoring procedure (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine), and the three countries engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue (Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia) in their efforts to fully comply with the obligations and commitments they entered into upon accession to the Council of Europe, as well as the monitoring of the membership obligations of all other member States through its periodic review process.
2The Assembly welcomes the positive developments and the progress made during the reporting period in a number of countries under a monitoring procedure or engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue. In particular in:
2.1Albania: the continuing commitment to the reform of the judiciary and justice system, especially through the vetting of all judges and prosecutors;
2.2Armenia: the organisation of parliamentary elections in line with international standards. Its commitment to combat corruption and to reform the judiciary with a view to strengthening its independence;
2.3Azerbaijan: the presidential pardon and subsequent release of over 400 prisoners, including 50 persons considered to be political prisoners; the introduction of legal reforms that allow for a reduction in terms of punishment, the introduction of alternatives to detention and the full decriminalisation of about 15 offences, which will help addressing the long-standing concerns about over-population of penitentiary institutions;
2.4Bulgaria: the significant reforms of the judiciary and the ongoing efforts to combat corruption, including by establishment of a new unified anti-corruption agency;
2.5Georgia: the adoption of a new set of rules of procedure for the Georgian Parliament with a view to reinforce parliamentary oversight and political accountability of the executive; the broad agreement with all stakeholders about the fourth wave of judicial reforms with the aim of further strengthening the independence of the judiciary and efficiency of the administration of justice;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 2.5, before the words "fourth wave", insert the word "adopted".

Explanatory note

The relevant laws have been adopted in December 2019.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 2.5, insert the following words: "introducing open and transparent selection procedures for the Supreme Court Judges for the first time in Georgia;"

Explanatory note

The resolution refers only to the shortcomings of the procedure in paragraph 3.6. For fairness reasons, it is important to emphasise the openness and transparency of the procedure, which has been provided for the first time in Georgia and acknowledged by a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

2.6the Republic of Moldova: the peaceful transfer of power and efforts undertaken to de-oligarchise the country and strengthen its State institutions; the willingness of the Moldovan authorities to continue the 5+2 discussions to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Transnistrian conflict;
2.7Montenegro: the progress made with regard to ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) and minority rights; the inclusive manner in which the new legal framework for media was adopted and the increase in efforts made to investigate attacks on journalists and bring perpetrators to justice;
2.8North Macedonia: the resolving through peaceful negotiations of the political crisis in the country and the ratification of the historical Prespa Agreement by North Macedonia and Greece which resolved the so-called “name issue” after 27 years;
2.9the Russian Federation: its stated commitment to now fully engage in the ongoing Monitoring Procedure by the Assembly;
2.10Turkey: the adoption of a first package of legal reforms and the expected action plan for human rights that could address long standing concerns of the Assembly;
2.11Ukraine: the establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court and the clear priority given, and new initiatives to fighting the wide spread corruption in the country.
3At the same time, the Assembly expresses its concern about developments and remaining shortcomings in a number of countries under a monitoring procedure or engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue, that undermine the democratic consolidation in these countries and are at odds with their obligations and accession commitments:
3.1Albania: the ongoing polarisation of the political environment evolving into a systemic political crisis that impedes the proper functioning of democratic institutions, including parliament and local self-government institutions, in the country; the still widespread and entrenched corruption and limited results in the fight against organised crime;
3.2Armenia: the challenges faced by the judiciary from all sides in ensuring its independence and impartiality; continuing prevalence in the Armenian society of intolerance and negative stereotypes regarding LGTBI persons and other minorities; the obstacles placed by some groups in society in the way of the still outstanding ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No 210, “Istanbul Convention”);

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.2, replace the words "continuing prevalence" with the following words: "in the light of visible improvements in Human Rights protection, continuing existence".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.2, delete the words: "and other minorities".

3.3Azerbaijan: the continuing existence of political prisoners and the ongoing use of politically motivated administrative detention, criminal charges and restrictions on movement and travel bans against government opponents, journalists and representatives of civil society organisations; the restrictive and cumbersome legal environment for NGOs to operate in;
3.4Bosnia and Herzegovina: the continuing inability to form a government and other democratic institutions in the country following the 2018 elections, including, inter alia, the inability to appoint a new delegation to our Assembly; the worrying developments in the area of freedom of assembly and freedom of the media; the continuous disregard by some authorities at the level of the entities for binding and final decisions of the judiciary;
3.5Bulgaria: the systematic deterioration of media freedom over recent years; the situation of the Roma minority and the continuing use of racist and intolerant hate speech in political discourse.
3.6Georgia: the failure to pass the required constitutional amendments to introduce a fully proportional election system by 2020; the lack of investigation and follow up given to alleged incidents and violations of the electoral code during the 2018 presidential election; the shortcomings in the functioning of the High Council of Justice, including the lack of a clear and uniform selection criteria, the excessive use of discretion failure to give full and reasoned decisions with regard to the selection of Supreme Court judges;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.6, after the word "2020", insert the following words: "(instead of after the 2020 elections, as prescribed in the constitution)"

Explanatory note

It is important to mention that the Georgian Constitution has introduced the proportional system, which will be enacted immediately after the 2020 parliamentary elections.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.6, delete the following words: "the lack of investigation and follow up given to alleged incidents and violations of the electoral code during the 2018 presidential election;".

Explanatory note

81 criminal investigations have been initiated. Criminal penalties have been imposed against 25 persons. Only 21 investigations/court cases are pending, out of which 7 are against the opposition activists. Most of the pending cases are of minor importance and in all cases the law enforcement bodies had objective reasons for not having managed to complete investigations so far.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.6, delete the following words: "the lack of a clear and uniform selection criteria,"

Explanatory note

The clear and uniform selection criteria are prescribed in details by the legislation. The stakeholders were criticizing the shortcomings in their application.

3.7Montenegro: the ongoing polarised political climate in the country which is hindering needed reforms, including of the electoral framework; the allegations of high-level corruption and insufficient investigation into these alleged acts of corruption; the lack of transparency in the selection and the appointments of magistrates;
3.8The Russian Federation: exacerbating negative tendencies with regard to democracy, the rule of law and human rights which are hindering the fulfilment of key accession commitments and membership obligations; the arbitrary use of extremist legislation to silence opposition and critical civil society organisations; the deterioration of religious freedom in the country as witnessed by the ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses; the continuing borderisation and creeping annexation of the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by the Russian Federation; the illegal annexation of Crimea and military aggression in Eastern Ukraine;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.8, after the words: "membership obligations" insert the following words: "including the adoption at first reading of an amendment to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which is prioritising national law over international law".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.8, after the words "membership obligations" insert the following words: "including threats of force against its neighbours, not settling outstanding international border disputes according to the principles of international law, not respecting international humanitarian law, not abiding by the existing international treaties, not withdrawing the 14th Army and its equipment from the territory of Moldova and other locations".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.8, replace the words "the continuing borderisation and creeping annexation of the Georgian regions" with the following words: "the continuing illegal occupation and steps towards de-facto annexation of the Georgian regions".

Explanatory note

The so-called "borderisation" is a result and consequence of the bigger illegal process of Russia's occupation of Georgian regions. Besides, in 2014 Russia launched the incorporation of those regions into Russia's military, political, economic and social system that represents a factual annexaton process. Therefore, the resolution should reflect the entire picture of Russia's aggressive policy.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3.8, replace the words: "South Ossetia and Abkhazia" with the following words: "Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia".

Explanatory note

The use of correct terminology is decisive to counter Russia's propagandistic narrative in violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The practise of using the abovementioned term is widely established in the international community and is considered to be the standard in the language of reports/resolutions/decisions and any other documents of international organizations.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 3.8, insert the following words: "the illegal installation of barbed-wire fences and other artificial barriers along the occupation line, the closure of crossing points in Tskhinvali region causing a humanitarian crisis on the ground, grave human rights violations and ethnic discrimination in Georgia's occupied regions;".

Explanatory note

The situation in Georgia's occupied regions has been continuously deteriorating recently. Since August 2019 Georgia is witnessing unprecedented provocations along the occupation line and in occupied regions; therefore the sentence offers more relevant and precise information regarding the current security, humanitarian and human rights situation on the ground.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 3.8, insert the following words: "as well as tensions around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and restrictions imposed by Russia on the freedom of navigation, including as a result of the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge;".

3.9Turkey: the worsening situation of opposition politicians and parties; the continuing undue restrictions on the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and assembly; the abuse of anti-terror laws to silence those critical of the ruling authorities’ policies, especially with regard to the military intervention in Syria; the continuing deterioration of the media environment;
3.10Ukraine: the attacks on journalists and anti-corruption activists investigating local corruption and abuses of power.
4Consequently, the Assembly urges all the countries that are under a monitoring procedure or engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue to step up their efforts to fully honour all membership obligations and accession commitments to the Council of Europe. In particular it calls on:
4.1all political forces in Albania resolve the systemic political crisis in the country on the basis of electoral reform followed by elections and to abstain from boycotting parliament and State institutions; and for the Albanian authorities to step up the fight against corruption and organised crime and to ensure that any changes to the legislative framework for the media are fully in line with European standards with regard to freedom of expression and the media;

30 January 2020

Tabled by Ms Eglantina GJERMENI, Ms Klotilda BUSHKA, Mr Arlind ÇAÇANI, Ms Shpresa HADRI, Mr Ervin BUSHATI

Votes: 22 in favor 35 against 10 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.1, first sentence, delete the following words: "followed by elections".

Explanatory note

Taking into consideration the causes of the politial crisis in Albania, encouraging political dialogue for electoral reform has a positive impact for democracy, meanwhile the call for elections after the electoral reform as stated in sub paragraph 4.1 of the paragraph 4 of the Draft Resolution has a negative impact in well-functioning of democracy, not only in Albania, but in all the other democratic countries, as the same give to the political parties leverages (boycott, rescinding parliamentary mandates), which fall in contradiction with democracy' principles and values that Council of Europe upholds. This would create a very negative precedent for elections as any opposition party may boycott, or worse rescind from parliamentary mandates, hence early elections could be requested, at any time.

4.2the Armenian authorities to stem up the reform of the justice system with a view to strengthening its independence and efficiency while refraining from any actions that could be perceived as putting pressure, or interfering in the work of the judiciary and to continue strengthening the rights of women as well as LGBTI persons and other minorities;
4.3the Azerbaijani authorities to end the harassment and intimidation of lawyers representing opposition and civil society activists against the State; to release without delay all remaining political prisoners and to fully implement the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan; to fully comply with the European Convention of Human Rights and unconditionally implement the judgements of the Court;
4.4all political forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina to appoint a new government and representatives in the country’s democratic institutions and adopt the necessary changes to both the constitution and the electoral law, in accordance with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdić and Finci and the Pilav cases;
4.5the Bulgarian authorities to adopt, in close co-operation and consultation with all stakeholders, clear, objective and transparent criteria with regard to supplementary remuneration within the judiciary; to adopt the necessary legislation ensuring transparency of media ownership; to step up the fight against high level corruption;

30 January 2020

Tabled by Ms Zeynep YILDIZ, Mr Ziya ALTUNYALDIZ, Ms Serap YAŞAR, Mr Cemal ÇETİN, Mr Mehmet Mehdi EKER

Votes: 16 in favor 34 against 19 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 4.5, insert the following sentence: "to establish an environment for ethnic minorities, Muslims and other religious denominations, to ensure that they maintain their existence without economic, social, political concerns;"

Explanatory note

The protection of ethnic minorities should be stated in the Progress Report, since paragraphs 18.4.2, 18.4.3 and 18.4.4 of Resolution 2296 (Post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria) explicitly refer to this issue.

4.6the Georgian ruling majority to ensure the introduction of a proportional election system that can have the support and trust of all stakeholders in time before the 2020 elections; to fully implement all the recommendations of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) formulated in the opinion on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges; to promptly implement the agreement reached on the fourth wave of reform of the judiciary and for all political forces in the country to work to overcome the continuing polarisation in the political environment;

30 January 2020

Tabled by Mr Irakli KOBAKHIDZE, Ms Sopio KILADZE, Mr Kakhaber KUTCHAVA, Mr Irakli BERAIA, Mr David SONGULASHVILI

Votes: 56 in favor 2 against 13 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.6, delete the word "proportional".

Explanatory note

The indicator of the success of the ongoing consultations will be the consensus among the political parties, be it around the proportional or other election system.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.6, after the first incidence of the word "implement", delete the word "all".

Explanatory note

The recommendations have been provided by the Venice Commission and ODIHR. Several contradictions are to be identified between the two documents. That is why it does not seem reasonable to refer to all recommendations of the Venice Commission.

30 January 2020

Tabled by Mr Irakli KOBAKHIDZE, Mr Irakli BERAIA, Ms Sopio KILADZE, Mr Kakhaber KUTCHAVA, Mr David SONGULASHVILI

Votes: 61 in favor 0 against 11 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.6, delete the words "to promptly implement the agreement reached on the fourth wave of reform of the judiciary and"

Explanatory note

The fourth wave has already been adopted by the Parliament in December 2019.

In amendment 22, replace the words "to promptly implement the agreement reached on the fourth wave of the judiciary and" with the following words "the agreement reached on".

4.7the Montenegrin authorities and all political forces in the country to agree on and implement a comprehensive electoral reform; to refrain from boycotting the country’s parliament and democratic institutions and for the Montenegrin authorities to fully and transparently investigate all allegation of high-level corruption in the country and to ensure the freedom of the media and protection of journalists;
4.8for all political forces in North Macedonia to agree to a reform of the legislative framework for elections, in particular with regard to campaign financing and election complaints and appeals; for the authorities of North Macedonia to implement outstanding recommendations by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT); to further consolidate and ensure the sustainability of the functioning democratic institutions in the country and to strengthen the independence and accountability of judges and prosecutors;
4.9the Russian authorities to implement a series of concrete measures aimed at addressing the concerns with regard to the continuing deterioration of human rights and the rule of law; to remove any legal obstacles to the unconditional execution of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights; to unconditionally and fully co-operate with the joint investigation team and the Dutch prosecution service in bringing these responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 to justice; to take effective measures aimed at preventing violations of the human rights of LGBTI persons, in particular in the Chechen Republic; to co-operate fully with the international community in the investigation of the murder of Mr Boris Nemtsov; to end and reverse the ongoing borderisation and creeping annexations of the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia; to fully implement the Minks agreements and to end its military intervention in, and support for, illegally armed formations in Eastern Ukraine; to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea; to fully comply with the European Convention of Human Rights and unconditionally implement the judgements of the Court;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, after the words "the Russian authorities" insert the following words: "to take effective and concrete measures to implement fully and in good faith commitments and obligations undertaken by the Russian Federation upon the accession to the Council of Europe, as outlined in PACE Opinion 193 (1996), including to reject resolutely any forms of threats of force against its neighbours, to settle outstanding international border disputes according to the principles of international law, to respect international humanitarian law, to abide by the existing international treaties;"

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, after the words: "to remove any legal obstacles to the unconditional execution of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights" insert the following words: "; to submit a draft law on the amendments to the Russian Constitution to the Venice Commission for its opinion and refrain from the adoption of the constitutional amendments until the Venice Commission opinion is prepared"

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, replace the words: "to end and reverse the ongoing borderisation and creeping annexations of the Georgian regions" with the following words: "to end and reverse the ongoing illegal occupation and steps towards de-facto annexation of the Georgian regions".

Explanatory note

The so-called "borderisation" is a result and consequence of the bigger illegal process of Russia's occupation of Georgian regions. Besides, in 2014 Russia launched the incorporation of those regions into Russia's military, political, economic and social system that represents a factual annexaton process. Therefore, the resolution should reflect the entire picture of Russia's aggressive policy.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, replace the words: "South Ossetia and Abkhazia" with the following words: "Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia".

Explanatory note

The use of correct terminology is decisive to counter Russia's propagandistic narrative in violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The practise of using abovementioned term is widely established in the international community and is considered to be the standard in the language of reports/resolutions/decisions and any other documents of international organizations.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, after the words "to fully implement the Minsk agreements" insert the following words: "to which the Russian Federation is a party".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, replace the words: "to end its military intervention in, and support for, illegally armed formations in Eastern Ukraine" with the following words: "to end its military aggression against Ukraine, including by ceasing the practice of sending and supporting armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, before the words "to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea", insert the following words: "to uphold all its obligations under applicable international law as an occupying power"

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, before the words "to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea", insert the following words: "to release all Ukrainians illegally detained by the Russian Federation both in the occupied territories and in Russian territory"

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, after the words "to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea", insert the following words: "as demanded by the Assembly, including in Assembly resolutions 1990 (2014), 2034 (2015), 2063 (2015), 2132 (2016), 2198 (2018), 2259 (2019), 2292 (2019) and others;"

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4.9, after the words "to reverse its illegal annexation of Crimea;" insert the following words: "lift the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, as ordered by the International Court of Justice;"

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 4.9, insert the following words: "comply with its international obligations, inter alia the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, withdraw its military forces from the territory of Georgia, cease grave human rights violations in Georgia's occupied regions and ensure the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes in safety and dignity;"

Explanatory note

Implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement is in the mandate of the Geneva International Discussions. Russia disregards its international obligations, stipulated through the Ceasefire Agreement and further aggravates the security environment through its daily provocations and militarization of occupied regions. The Resolution should refer to the fulfilment of the Ceasefire Agreement.

4.10the Turkish authorities to respect fully the rights and fundamental freedoms of opposition politicians, in particular to guarantee parliamentary immunity and to release MPs and former MPs who were unduly imprisoned and stripped of their immunity; to end the use of anti-terror laws against opposition parties, journalists, activists and civil society organisations that hold diverging views to those of the ruling party; to fully comply with the European Convention of Human Rights and unconditionally implement the judgements of the Court;
4.11the Ukrainian authorities to ensure full and transparent investigations into attacks on journalist and anti -corruption activists to ensure that no perception of impunity for such crimes is allowed to exist; to ensure that the reform of the legal framework governing the Supreme Court and judicial self-governing bodies is carried out fully in line with European standards.
5The Assembly reaffirms the importance of the parliamentary monitoring procedure, and the work of the Monitoring Committee in the democratisation and institution-building processes in all Council of Europe member States. It welcomes the effort taken to ensure the monitoring of membership obligations of all Council of Europe member States which precludes any possibility for double standards and decides to strengthen the periodic review procedure as a complementary mechanism to the existing monitoring procedure and post-monitoring dialogue. To that purpose the Assembly decides to amend the terms of reference of the Monitoring Committee, appended to Resolution 1115 (1997) (modified), as follows:
5.1at the end of paragraph 8 add the following text: “The Monitoring Committee is seized to prepare regular periodic reviews on all Council of Europe member States that are not under a full monitoring procedure or engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue. The order and frequency of these reports would be decided upon by the committee in accordance with its internal working methods based on substantive grounds, with the objective of producing, over time, periodic review reports on all member States”;
5.2replace paragraph 14 by the following one: “In the case of reports on the honouring of obligations and commitments, periodic review reports on the honouring of membership obligations, and reports on the post-monitoring dialogue, the authorities of the country in question will be given a six week period to provide their comments on the preliminary draft report agreed to be transmitted to them by the committee. These comments will be discussed as part of the consideration of the draft report by the committee. No comments by the authorities are required for the consideration of a draft report on the functioning of democratic institutions. Draft reports remain confidential until the authorities have been able to give their comments within the before mentioned deadlines and the report has been discussed by the committee. All other memoranda and working documents of the committee remain confidential unless declassified by the committee”.
6Furthermore, also in order to strengthen the efficiency and internal coherence of the work of the Monitoring Committee, the Assembly decides to amend Resolution 1115 (1997) (as modified by Resolution 1431 (2005), Resolution 1515 (2006), Resolution 1698 (2009), Resolution 1710 (2010), Resolution 1936 (2013), Resolution 2018 (2014) and Resolution 2261 (2019) as follows:
6.1insert the following new paragraph before paragraph 9: “In line with Rule 50.1, unless otherwise specified, the Monitoring Committee shall appoint two rapporteurs, from different countries and political groups, for country specific reports on the honouring of obligations and commitments, reports on the functioning of democratic institutions, reports on the post-monitoring dialogue and reports on periodic reviews.”
7The Assembly invites the committee to pursue its reflections on ways to strengthen its work including with regard to the manner in which the committee is composed.